Restoration of 18th century Cottage & Garden.
Where to start …
Many of my design clients contact me when a garden project feels overwhelming. Where to start and how to tackle a large project is quite an undertaking. One of my immediate concerns was the lack of privacy both at the rear and from the road at the front. The elevated position makes it great for a chat with passing neighbours, but not for a quiet sit in the garden. The garden is all one huge space with no discernible front and back gardens. Our lovely neighbours backing onto our garden had generated a mish mash of fences which looked untidy from our side. The first job was 120ft length of feather edge fencing just inside our boundary to even up the eye line.
Unusually there aren’t any trees to speak of in the garden. Two old apple trees remain in sprouting stump form. These will be removed at a later date. So….part of our carbon footprint is to plant trees where we can. Rock on, 10 ornamental pear trees along the boundary fence and as a second layer; the large shrubs/ trees I brought with me in pots.
But what about this thing called ‘species trees’ ? British native trees colonised the land when the glaciers melted after the last ice age and before the UK was disconnected from mainland Europe. I have chosen a Himalayan silver birch, pear and yew as native species. These would have been prevalent when the cottage was first built. But why no trees in the first instance? The garden was a cottage garden in the truest sense. A small holding where sheep, pigs and chickens were kept and most of the ground used for growing fruit and veg. Apart form the occasional apple tree there wasn’t any place for ornamental planting. To tap into the style of garden design and planting of the 18th century we need to look at the larger, Manor Houses of the time. This will be referenced in this recreation project.